339 F.3d 129 (2nd Cir. 2003), 01-7978, Anthony v. City of New York

Docket Nº:01-7978
Citation:339 F.3d 129
Party Name:Anthony v. City of New York
Case Date:August 08, 2003
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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Page 129

339 F.3d 129 (2nd Cir. 2003)

Myra ANTHONY and Magdalene Wright, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

CITY OF NEW YORK, New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, Richard Collegio, Gerald Migliaro, and John Does 1, 2, and 3, both individually and in their official capacities, Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 01-7978(L), 02-7648(CON).

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

August 8, 2003

Argued: Dec. 9, 2002.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Richard A. Altman, New York, NY, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Janet L. Zaleon, Assistant Corporation Counsel (Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, Kristin M. Helmers, Susan B. Eisner, on the brief), New York, NY, for Defendants-Appellees.

Amanda Masters, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (Isaac S. Greaney, on the brief), New York, NY, for amici curiae New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc., New York Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Urban Justice Center.

Before: NEWMAN, SACK, and SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judges.

SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant Myra Anthony is an adult woman with Down Syndrome. Plaintiff-appellant Magdalene Wright is Anthony's half-sister and legal guardian. On March 7, 2000, officers from the New York City Police Department ("NYPD") responded to a 911 call that originated from Wright's apartment, in which a female caller reported that she was being attacked by a man with a knife and gun. The police entered Wright's apartment, found Anthony alone, and were unable to locate Anthony's caretaker. The police then transported Anthony to the psychiatric ward of Kings County Hospital, a municipal hospital owned and operated by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation ("HHC"), where she was detained overnight and given blood and urine tests as well as anti-psychotic medication. Anthony was released from the hospital the next morning.

Plaintiffs brought suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Denise L. Cote, J.),

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alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and various state-law tort claims against defendants-appellees the City of New York, HHC, and several NYPD officers both individually and in their official capacities. The parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment, and the district court granted defendants' motion in its entirety. Plaintiffs then voluntarily dismissed their remaining claims with prejudice in order to pursue this appeal.

We affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment on all claims that plaintiffs have asserted on appeal. There is no individual liability pursuant to Anthony's § 1983 claims based on alleged Fourth Amendment violations: We hold that the warrantless entry was justified by exigent circumstances and did not violate the Fourth Amendment, and we find it unnecessary to decide whether the warrantless seizure was a Fourth Amendment violation because the officers involved are entitled to qualified immunity. Nor can Anthony recover on her § 1983 claims against the City of New York and the officers in their official capacities, because there is no evidence that the warrantless seizure (assuming it was unconstitutional) was conducted pursuant to an official governmental policy or custom. Anthony's argument that the City of New York violated the ADA also fails, because there is no evidence that the warrantless seizure was motivated by discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

In addition, we affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment against Anthony on her § 1983 claims against HHC for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, holding that HHC's actions did not violate Anthony's constitutional rights. Finally, we affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment against Wright on her familial association claim, as we hold that Anthony's seizure and confinement did not constitute a substantive due process violation.

The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff-appellant Myra Anthony is a woman with Down Syndrome and a citizen of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. [JA 59] The abilities of individuals with Down Syndrome vary; Anthony is able to clean and dress herself, cook meals, and clean the house. 1 [JA 283-84] Anthony

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speaks a dialect of English colloquially referred to as "Jamaican speech," common in the West Indies. [JA 291-92] At the time of the events at issue in this case, Anthony was in the United States on a valid medical visa to receive treatment for a hearing problem, and was staying with her half-sister and legal guardian, plaintiff-appellant Magdalene Wright. [JA 63-64]

I. Factual Background

On March 7, 2000, a 911 call was placed from Wright's apartment in Brooklyn. [JA 336] The "SPRINT report," a document that records the notes taken by a 911 operator during a call, memorializes the thirteen-minute call as follows:

FC [female caller] SPKS FRENCH--WAS CONNCTD TO [ ] 911 BY BELL ATLANTIC--FC STILL ON LINE UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND HER--SPKG UNK LANGUAGE--FEML SOUNDS INCOHERENT--POSS EDP [emotionally disturbed person] FEML AT LOC--FC ON LINE RAMBLIN ON--FC STS SHE IS 5 YO [years old]--FC SOUND OLDER THN 5 YO--STILL ON LINE W FEML--FEML STS SHE SPKS CREOLE--FC STS HUSB TOLD HER HE DOES NOT LIKE YOU--FC STS HUSB BEAT ON HER--FC STS HUSB--HAS A KNIFE & A GUN--UNK WPNS AT LOC--WHILE FEML ON LINE HEARD SOMEONE KNOCKIN ON DOOR--UNITS ARE INSIDE

[JA 336] Several NYPD officers responded to a subsequent dispatch, including Officers Richard Collegio and Gerald Migliaro. Officers Collegio and Migliaro were not the first officers on the scene, and it is unclear from the record how the first-responding officers entered Wright's apartment--there was no property damage or other evidence of forcible entry, but neither is there evidence that Anthony affirmatively consented to the officers' entry.

Officers Collegio and Migliaro have significantly different recollections of Anthony's conduct while the police were in the apartment. Officer Collegio testified in his deposition that Anthony "did not appear to be well-kept, and she was not acting rationally.... She was crying, she was screaming and she was not calm." [JA 145] Officer Migliaro, by contrast, testified in his deposition that Anthony was sitting calmly in a chair while the police were in the apartment, and that he did not hear her speaking to any of the officers. [JA 191-92] Construing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, as we must in reviewing this grant of summary judgment against them, we will assume that Anthony was sitting quietly and calmly while the police searched the apartment, and that she did not communicate with the officers or explain why a 911 call was made.

While the police were inside, a neighbor arrived and told them that Wright was the lessee of the apartment. [JA 151] The officers searched the house for information they could use to contact Wright but were unable to get in touch with her after trying half a dozen phone numbers they had found. [195-98] The officers discussed the situation, and a superior officer, Sergeant Mendez, ordered Officers Collegio and Migliaro to seize Anthony and take her to the hospital. [JA 156, 202-08] Anthony was handcuffed and transported by ambulance to Kings County Hospital. [JA 202] The officers left a note at the apartment for Wright that stated: "MAGDALENE: 70 [PRECINCT] RESPONDED TO

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YOU[R] HOUSE AND TOOK [ANTHONY] TO KINGS COUNTY HOSPITAL TO BE CHECKED OUT." [JA 342]

Wright returned home that afternoon, saw the note, and attempted to contact the police and Kings County Hospital. [JA 68-69] About half an hour later, an officer called Wright at home and told her that she could find Anthony in the psychiatric ward of Kings County Hospital. [JA 69] Wright immediately went to the hospital and was allowed to visit Anthony but not to take her home; Wright states that an unidentified hospital employee told her it was "normal procedure" to keep Anthony for observation. [JA 70-71] On Wright's request, she was allowed to spend the night with Anthony in Anthony's hospital room. [JA 72]

Hospital documents describe the hospital staff's evaluations of and responses to Anthony's behavior. The Ambulance Call Report indicates that Anthony was "very aggressive" in transport to the hospital, but was "able to be calmed." [JA 80] She was admitted to the hospital under a diagnosis of "Unspecified Psychosis"; after an initial exam, the principal diagnosis was listed as Down Syndrome, with secondary diagnoses of "Unspecified Mental Retardation" and "Unspecified Hearing Loss." [JA 74-75] Anthony was given a psychiatric evaluation, which described her as fearful, anxious, delusional, and paranoid. [JA 82-86] The hospital took blood and urine samples from Anthony to test for drug use, and also administered sedatives and anti-psychotic medication. [JA 110-33] She was discharged the next morning with no scheduled follow-up. [JA 137]

II. The District Court Proceedings

In June 2000, plaintiffs filed a complaint in the district court against the City of New York, HHC, Officers Collegio and Migliaro, and several "John Doe" officers, and sought damages based on alleged violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Pub.L. No. 101-336, 104 Stat. 327 (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.), and various state-law tort claims. After discovery, the parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment, and the district court granted defendants' motion in full. See Anthony v. City of New York, 2001 WL 741743 (S.D.N.Y. July 2, 2001). Plaintiffs agreed...

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